The key to online success? YOU

by Craig McBreen · 76 comments · Branding


You consume vast quantities of online information daily, yes?

So let me ask you this.

Who truly stands out? What do you read time and time again?

Where do you go to learn? To be inspired? What creative soul is absofreakinlutely killing it?

Of course you seek great content, but is THAT why you keep coming back? Of course not. There’s something else that is WAY more powerful. It’s something you may be utilizing and if not, it’s within you screaming to get out.

Maybe I should stop and ask you this:
How do you want your audience, your tribe, your peeps to perceive you?

There’s something called credibility and it’s a whopper in the online space. And it’s precisely why authentic personality is so essential to success on the social web. You might be a master of deception, but you can’t fake credibility forever.

And influence, gravitas and leadership start from within.

Great content is one thing, but who keeps you coming back and why? And if you have an A-list, what do they all have in common?

Is it credibility AND a unique perspective?
This goes back to my killer swag argument. It really is key, but we are awash in copycats and imitators.

Think about it.

I’ve said this before, but it is so true: Content might be king, but helpful, powerful and uncommon material is like that benevolent ruler who sticks around, because his people love him so.

Here’s a business buzzword I hate: Best Practices. Why? Well, it’s so … Meh, but also …

1. I’m not about following a standard way of doing things and

2. Many in the online space get hung up on “process” and emulating others, ignoring their own gifts.

If you’re stuck on procedure, I’m sorry to say you’re barking up the wrong tree. Instead you should focus on your own special form of genius.

Plus, you simply can’t make an exact copy of someone else’s formula and make it work. Nope. Not gonna happen. Ever.

Instead, figure out what you bring to the world that is so uncommon. It might be a brave new idea or it may just be the tone of your writing. It could even be a spin on someone else’s idea, just make sure you take that blueprint and make it your own. Don’t be a knock-off.

Speak your mind, don’t waiver and make sure you’re not faking it, ’cause that’ll come back to bite you in the ass. Sure, some common-sense filtering is sometimes needed, but please don’t dilute your message.

Know your stuff. Have a plan. Be incredibly competent and practice a bit of integrity along the way. But most of all, just make sure you forge your own path.

With this kind of focus, you’ll lead your way to the right audience and just might show the world how insanely creative you are.

You ARE an original and that is your key. Trust me, K?

How do you measure your online success?

What is your own special form of genius?

Are there any true innovators on the social web? If so, we’d all like to know about them.

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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Skidmore August 13, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Craig, you are so right.

There are a lot of places that I go to find best practices. I can always count on Copyblogger and Problogger for that kind of thing. But for me, many of the posts on these sites fall into the skim and save for later but probably never read category. I have learned a great deal from the folks at Copyblogger but I don’t feel the close to them.

The only guy I ever take the time to read every word of is Marcus Sheridan. His post are always personal and you can feel his passion through his writing. He doesn’t have any guest posters and so his unique aesthetic is never diluted. I’ve never met the man and my only interactions with him have been in the comments section of his blog, but I still feel a kind of kinship to him.

He is definitely someone who has found his own way and I think that is the reason that I enjoy his insights so much.

Also The Sales Lion is where I discovered you. So that is also a plus. :-)

I am just starting out and still trying to find my own path. but as I do, I am very glad that I have found people like you and Marcus to guide me to it.

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Craig McBreen August 14, 2012 at 3:01 am

Hi Rob,

I understand what you’re saying about those sites. When I first started blogging I was reading them all the time. Not nearly as much now for a variety of reasons.

Well, The Sales Lion is one of the very first blogs I started reading and I still read Marcus’ stuff just as often. He does write like he speaks and is a great guy in person, plus one hell of a speaker. He maintains fresh content and yes, the passion shows through.

I’ve discovered a few great people over at The Sales Lion as well ;) So, glad we connected through Marcus’ place.

The social web is something else. It can be very exciting and sometimes a bit overwhelming, but it’s changed my life for the better. I wish you luck and hope to see you around some more.

Thanks, Sir. I’m so glad you’ve stopped in. Cheers!

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Ryan Hanley August 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Craig,

“How do you measure your online success?” This is a difficult question for me.

With my insurance agency it’s all about Revenue. Simple.

With Content Warfare there is so much more to it… But right now it’s mostly about the satisfaction I get from helping people…

So vague… I hate that my answer is vague but really I write that blog to help people not make money.

Thanks for making me think!

Ryan H.
Ryan Hanley recently posted..Content Warfare Podcast #3 – Free Products, Blog Subscribers and Generating More TrafficMy Profile

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Craig McBreen August 14, 2012 at 3:04 am

Hi Ryan,

Not vague at all. It looks to me like you have mission and clarity and I imagine the Content Warfare theme is working great for you.

I’d say you’re making a serious dent in the old blogosphere!

Thanks for stopping in!

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Bill Dorman August 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Who truly stands out? What do you read time and time again?…..Is this like a trick question or something? Me, of course; in fact I might read it two or three times because sometimes it’s so good…..

How do you want your audience, your tribe, your peeps to perceive you? How about fun and informative? I’m sorry if I don’t have actionable items every single time I post, but I can talk about doing the right thing and treating others like would want to be treated. What? Yawn? Oh well, it’s me at my best and trying to be something different would be selling out……….

I have far exceeded where I thought I’d be online and I’m happy to build on what I’ve started. I don’t have a strategy to rule the social universe and very happy to move at my own pace.

What is your own special form of genius? Me again; me just being me, because I do know ‘stuff.’ Some of it relevant, most of it not, but I really do know stuff.

Are there any true innovators on the social web? If so, we’d all like to know about them. I’m sure they are out there, and whereas I see some really talented people, all with something different to share and contribute; nobody just blows me away. I still see too many people trying to fake it until they make it and see how edgy they can be, but have no concept of the power real social engagement can bring. I’m not drinking anybody’s Kool-Aid if that is what you were looking for, but I have some dear friends in here I would take a bullet for.

That’s my story for today.
Bill Dorman recently posted..I am just keeping you honest…My Profile

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Craig McBreen August 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Hi Bill,

You only read your posts two or three times? I don’t believe it.

Fun and informative works, and you, Sir are entitled to go at your own pace. But it seems to me that you’ve come awfully far in a very short period of time. And it seems that you do rule the social universe, at least according to Mr. Harai ;)

I know that you know some “stuff,” but when’s it going to come out that you know more about social than you claim? It seems that you have quite a handle on this old networking thing and I’m still not sure how you keep up with this prolific commenting regimen.

I would have commented back last night, but my wife temped me with a nice cold drink and that’s always better than answering a comment, right? Even if it’s the esteemed Mr. Dorman.

Thanks for your story and for dropping in!

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Mark August 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Hey Craig,

I measure my online success by the quality of the relationships that develop offline as a result.

My genius; I get things done.

When I think innovation on the social web two things come to mind; the people who create the platforms and those who leverage them.

As for creators; Mark Zuckerberg comes to mind, as does Guy Kawasaki, Jack Dorsey, Sergy Brin, and Bill Dorman… I would say these are pretty innovative minds.

As for the personalities; Chris Brogan, Gary V., Guy Kawasaki, Gini Dietrich, Danny Brown and Bill Dorman do a very good job of setting the ‘human’ standard for the social web.

That. Is. All.

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Ralph August 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm

It seems you like this Bill Dorman guy. Is he really any good? :-)
Ralph recently posted..Is Customer Service really that big of a deal?My Profile

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Bill Dorman August 14, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Is the Pope Catholic? Just sayin’……..:)
Bill Dorman recently posted..I am just keeping you honest…My Profile

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Mark August 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Dang, the subconsciousness mind is powerful – haha!

I was just testing the ‘invisible’ theory; apparently, he’s not :o

No, I really just wanted to see his head explode – LOL!
Mark recently posted..Entrepreneur Series: Going Above and Beyond What Others Are Willing To DoMy Profile

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Craig McBreen August 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Mark, you are feeding the monster … ;)

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Bill Dorman August 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Ha, you will never get that cat to leave now; you’ll just have to move out of town.
Bill Dorman recently posted..I am just keeping you honest…My Profile

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Craig McBreen August 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm

That’s cool. I have an “open house” policy :)

Bill Dorman August 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Too late, I’m picking up the pieces now……..:).
Bill Dorman recently posted..I am just keeping you honest…My Profile

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Craig McBreen August 14, 2012 at 3:20 am

Hi Mark,

I love that answer and feel the same way. I’ve made some great friendships online and it’s great to move that offline. Also, that’s when those great ideas start to gel, after you talk to someone in person.

Yes, it looks like you have quite the resume to back it all up!

Many get stuck on the technology part, but I’m looking for people who are innovating creatively as writers, artists, etc. Well … you put Bill Dorman next to Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg and Bill hasn’t been back to comment … ;) What is up with that?

Thank. You. Sir! ;)

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Bill Dorman August 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Oh, you put me in that company and I thought I was supposed to act a different way; like I am somebody and I didn’t need to respond anymore……isn’t that what all the big boys do?
Bill Dorman recently posted..I am just keeping you honest…My Profile

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Mark August 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm
Mark August 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm
Craig McBreen August 14, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Commenting bombs ;)

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Ralph August 14, 2012 at 11:59 pm

I think KD calls it blog jack. I think it’s like carpet bombing.
Ralph recently posted..Social is as Social does; The Saga of Social and its meteoric rise to the top.My Profile

Craig McBreen August 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Napalming with silly putty.

Bill Dorman August 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I’ve heard of that Dorman guy, do you think he is really that good or is it all smoke and mirrors. I also heard he has a great head of hair on that over-sized dome of his too.
Bill Dorman recently posted..I am just keeping you honest…My Profile

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Mark August 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Smoke? Mirrors? Hair?

He’s invisible, dork.

(Hmm, wonder if I’ll get away with that one!)

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Bill Dorman August 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Shhhh…..you aren’t supposed to tell anybody………
Bill Dorman recently posted..I am just keeping you honest…My Profile

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Craig McBreen August 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Be nice ;)

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Ralph August 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Craig,

You are touching on 3 things here that are what I call personal “dilemmas.” ; best practices, credibility and unique voice.

You see, I find it tough to define credibility because “you” may say it’s moolah and I may say it’s fans and someone else may say it’s academic and….you get the point. I know it might be semantics but isn’t it somewhat subjective?

In my mind best practices are an industry’s way to set a minimum acceptable benchmarks or standards. No one says you have to maintain the status quo but as you innovate you do need to makes sure you are meeting some modicum of minimum standards. You might disagree and that’s ok. I find the “internet” is one place where there are no real best practices not dissimilar to the way the wild west was 100 years ago. Anyone can do anything here and get away with it. Yes, we have each other and what we will tolerate but there really are no rules, are there?

Pushing the boundaries is a good thing and your individuality, unique voice, creativity and your “uncommon” approach might get you noticed but without some meat (define meat? moolah, fans, customers, huh?) behind you what do you really have? How does anyone really know that I am a cracker-jack management guy on the internet? I have to work hard at it, I get that! I have to put the time in, I have to speak, I have to run a business and I have to get customers. All that is a “no shit, Sherlock” statement but without references or business relationships that are willing to stick their neck out and recommend me it’s all just noise.

My special brand of crazy leaves me wondering how a client hires our firm in this the analog world? About 90% of the time it’s work we’ve done before. Reputation. It takes a long time to build that which is cool but that’s really it, no? One customer at a time? One day at a time. I agree that getting noticed is the starting point but to me table-stakes is building reputation for good reliable level-headed service.

We know how easy it is to “wash” that stuff on the internet, hence this post.

I am in this for the development of ideas and opening the minds of my profession to see there are alternatives to traditional design management and business development. I am still searching for the right formula to get some traction. Is that because I am full of shit? Well, maybe but I think it’s as important to get traction IRL. The real way for this to make sense will likely be to strategically couple the on-line with the IRL efforts to build on tangible business relationships. I probably just don’t understand the “new way” to do business yet. Hopefully writing about these efforts will help to solidify my standing in my indusrty grow a line of business. Over time.

Listen, I love to read your blog and I love your style, my man. The fact that your topics get me all fired up is great. This is a good forum to test ideas for you and I hope as you evolve this site you see it pay dividends to your day to day business.
Ralph recently posted..Is Customer Service really that big of a deal?My Profile

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Craig McBreen August 14, 2012 at 3:47 am

Hi Ralph,

Of course certain industries need best practices, but here? It’ more like the law of the jungle ;) There really are no clearly defined rules and it is a bit like the wild west at times, but I do see many get hung up on “process.” This is just my opinion, which doesn’t mean much really. I’ve just never been much of a rule follower, like to do things my way, and think there might be a few creative souls out there who are holding back. That’s all.

To be 100% honest 90% of my work is, you guessed it, from work I’ve done before too. And building reputation is a slow and steady climb of course, but standing out is more difficult than ever. The old school marketing channels are rusty and dusty and where’s that ROI? Outbound marketing vs. inbound marketing, etc. I’m now working with some clients on that … Earning someone’s attention in a very new way … and I think some of the stuff mentioned here could benefit an older firm as well as a budding blogger. Just applied in different ways of course. But I’m still learning and have a long way to go.

Someone mentioned fake it until you make it. You say “wash” and yes, we do see a lot. Right now I’m trying to get to the meat so I can actually help clients, then maybe even build this place into something more helpful. We. Shall. See.

“I probably just don’t understand the “new way” to do business yet.”
–Who does, completely? If anyone tells you they completely understand it well, that’s bullshit! We see a lot of that out there though, don’t we?

Anyway. Love your comments and you Sir, have a noble vision and it will be interesting to see what develops over at your place :) Keep on chugging along and I will do the same!

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Ralph August 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

Craig, always the voice of reason. :-)

I encourage you to read this month’s Fast Company. It’a all about Social Media and one thing that struck me is that the term inbound marketing didn’t even appear anywhere. Isn’t that the basis of SM? C’mon, think about it. Drive traffic, yada, yada, yada.

The tone of the piece wasn’t necessarily all marketing driven but hey. One thing that made me laugh was a statement that said “Social is just PR in overdrive.” It just goes to show you that even FC can cite examples that can easily be taken out of context. There’s another blog post for ya.

Man, I have to learn how to spell, huh? I just re-read my comment and cringed at the errors. Talk about wanting to be taken seriously. Learn how to proof-read your stuff, man.

Thanks for the volley and yes, I am in it to win it! Just seeing a lot of “faking it” and wonder if my own brand of “it” is real enough yet. Gotta work hard on that aspect, for sure.
Ralph recently posted..Social is as Social does; The Saga of Social and its meteoric rise to the top.My Profile

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Craig McBreen August 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Well, whatever you want to call it, small businesses who don’t embrace this kind of “pull” marketing will be struggling, at least that’s the word on the street.

Marketing hasn’t really changed all that much, but the way businesses, B2B and B2C pull in clients/customers has. Content marketing. Inbound marketing. Call it whatever you want, it’s the new way of doing things. I just met with a small firm this morning and they are very interested. They’re finally warm and receptive and they don’t much mind this newfangled term, content marketing.

It’s the new “big picture” for a lot of people I do business with, and you’ll be hearing the term over and over for the foreseeable future.

Thanks, Sir!

I’ll have to read the piece. Is it online or just in the new Print issue? (egads, print!! … ;))

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Ralph August 15, 2012 at 12:02 am

My gift to you….http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/168/september-2012

Glad to see you have a new client from all this. Nice work. T.Dot out!
Ralph recently posted..Social is as Social does; The Saga of Social and its meteoric rise to the top.My Profile

Craig McBreen August 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Thanks! Potentially two new clients. We shall see. Thanks!

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Josh August 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Hi Craig,

The people that capture my attention have several things in common:

1) They don’t live and die by only one idea.
2) They invite dissent and ask to be challenged but not in an obnoxious way.
3) They don’t spend all of their time tooting their horn.
4) They engage and interact with others.
5) They display a childlike curiosity about life, business etc.

The next time I hit a blog post that talks about the need for great content marketing I am going to scream.

That is not new, unique or innovative. It is called story telling and it is what smart businesses have always done.
Josh recently posted..What Is Your Story?My Profile

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Craig McBreen August 14, 2012 at 4:04 am

Hi Josh,

I like numbers 1-5, but especially like 2 and 5. 2 because some of the best ideas I’ve had have sprung from other’s comments. Not exactly dissent, but some very interesting discussions that led to new ideas and may have changed the way I look at something.

And 5 because I think that’s where many get lost. And I like this so much because it’s similar to what I’m writing about with people getting hung up on process vs. being themselves. it’s hard to break out of that mindset though.

I think businesses need great content marketing, but to me, half the battle is solid, consistent and unique branding. With my client base it’s not that different than what I’ve been doing for years … trying to get clients to understand the importance of copy and how good design is not everything.

Thanks for dropping in, Sir!

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Jeevan Jacob John August 14, 2012 at 12:13 am

ME?

Yes, of course ;)

I am the key to my own success.

By being unique in my own way, by experimenting and finding what works for us, by not completely following others (but, of course, we should listen to their opinion too).

Is there anything best in this world in any field?

I doubt so. Someone in this world can do better than us, in everything but being us.

Only we are best at being ourselves. And be “Us”, and stop trying to be someone else.

Measure my online success, huh?

I measure it by the small steps I take daily. Those small steps add up, over time, and make a big difference.

My specialty is being myself and adding my own personality and flavor to my blog (and of course, I love experimentation, consistent ones :D).

True innovators? How do we define them, Craig?

Can imitators considered as true innovators?

Yes. Maybe.

We are all innovators, aren’t we? We find solutions for the problems we face in life. We teach others. We share. And we share ;)
Jeevan Jacob John recently posted..Facebook Interview Chat, Productivity Challenge and Podcasts!My Profile

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Craig McBreen August 14, 2012 at 4:15 am

Hi Jeevan,

You are you own man … ;)

You have the plan, but I do think many seek to emulate vs. experimenting and finding their own way. The businesses I work with every day do the same, but it’s my job to help them break out a little. It can work the same, from B2B to budding blogger too. That “unique” thing ;)

It is hard to measure your online success with small, incremental steps. But those are little battles you win every day and they’re the only way to make true progress. Do the work, day after day ;) Common sense of course, but many don’t stick to mission.

I think if someone takes an idea (most aren’t original of course) and puts their own spin on it. Well, sure they can be an innovator. Everyone puts Apple on a pedestal and they certainly didn’t invent the personal computer, Xerox PARC did. And the smartphone was a spin on something that already existed, a rather brilliant spin of course.

Love your comments, Mr. Jeevan! Thank you.

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Jeevan Jacob John August 15, 2012 at 12:28 am

Agree, Craig.

Of course, imitation can also be great, if the imitators improves upon the idea. But, yes. We must focus on experimentation and finding what works for us.

Of course ;) I am making those steps. I put a little more effort last week and saw tremendous results (small steps matter!). I am going to continue with it; in a progressive manner, increase my steps one by one.

Of course, those were brilliant ideas. But, it also depends upon the perception of the person, right? Take for instance: As a person who is interested in tech gadgets, I don’t find much innovation in iPad, but many others did. Then again, I attribute the success to Apple’s brand value and customer loyalty.
Jeevan Jacob John recently posted..Facebook Interview Chat, Productivity Challenge and Podcasts!My Profile

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Craig McBreen August 15, 2012 at 3:14 am

It’s great to hear you saw tremendous results. Good going! And yes, baby steps all the way ;)

You are right, and Apple’s brand stickiness and customer loyalty is about the best of the best!

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Tim Bonner August 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Hey Craig

Hmmm, tricky one this one. How do I measure my online success? I’m the new boy here but I’m making some friends, getting to know people and my writing is evolving, hopefully in the right direction. As I’m gaining confidence, I’m speaking my mind more for what it’s worth and backing it up!

I see so many blogs about how to blog and what to write, I get bored of them. I guess I read them a couple of months ago and I sometimes still skim over them now. It’s hard to leave a comment on them though when you see the same post over and over again but each on a different blog. What gets me is these blogs have a huge following but there’s nothing unique to them. Following like sheep springs to mind!

My own special form of genius? I can be a bit sarcastic sometimes, I guess my own special brand of humour. It’s not shown itself too much in my blog yet but it’s creeping in. It maybe the lowest form of wit but it’s who I am.

I don’t go in for all the big name stuff when it comes to bloggers. I like to discover new stuff through other people’s blogs and hopefully find innovators that way.
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Craig McBreen August 15, 2012 at 2:59 am

Hi Tim,

When I first arrived on the scene I was enamored with some of the larger blogs, but I’m honestly not crazy about blogs where 90% of the content is from guest posters. Nothing wrong with that of course, but I like the places that maintain the tone of the respective hosts, don’t you?

Following like sheep does spring to mind in some cases. And on many of these blogs it’s so very obvious a percentage of the commenters didn’t even read the post ;)

Snarky works and I can relate to a low form of humor. I certainly love the tone of your comments, Sir. Here’s to your success in our little blogging wonderland.

Thanks for the visit.

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Tim Bonner August 15, 2012 at 5:21 am

Hi Craig

Yes, I agree totally about maintaining the tone of the respective host. If you have so many guest bloggers, it dilutes a blog’s message don’t you think?

There’s nothing wrong with guest bloggers every once in a while as it can add a bit of diversity but it can become very disjointed. There’s a couple of blogs I visit sometimes there are exactly like this!
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Craig McBreen August 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Yep. I completely agree ;)

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Deone Higgs August 14, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I’m with Jeevan on this one, Craig.

There’s not many like Deone. Trust me, I’ve looked around. I dance to my own tune; always have, and always will.

Now, I’m not saying I’m better or anything like that, but when you are authentic and unique, there really isn’t any contest to compete in. Is there?

I have a few faves online, actually. And each of them are my faves for the exact same reason – they are the creme de le creme of their own swag. Of course, you’re one of them, and I’m not just saying that to spread on the mayo… uh uh, no way. You keep me wanting to “stay fresh and so clean clean.” :D

In my book, originality is the key to the online world. I don’t do much following how it should be done. In fact, if I get the feeling that I’m getting even close to being apart of the sheep of social media conformity; I take a breakaway just to get a fresh breath of reality.

I don’t nor will I be told how someone else thinks I should be doing what I do. Rules are for those who aren’t confident about their “ish.” Confidence goes far, and as my own continues to grow, I will take my message as far as it’ll go.

Loved this man! Great points and very well put. Thanks for the sharpening, mate! :)
Deone Higgs recently posted..If You Need Somebody You Can Trust, Trust YourselfMy Profile

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Craig McBreen August 15, 2012 at 3:08 am

Hi Deone,

Yessir! I think you have the swag thing all wrapped up! No doubt about that.

In fact I think you’re a shining example of what I often talk about. You’re very honest, show your emotion, and we all feel like we know you through your writing. Plus you offer value and are helping people with you teaching and advice. It’s very clear why you are here.

I do think following your path is key, and it’s obvious you’re doing things your own way. I honestly gave up reading many blogs because I was getting the same advice and I felt the writing lacked originality. So, I agree with you there. A good breakaway is nice and I think many in this sphere could use a good breather.

You’re very welcome. Thanks as usual for dropping some bits of wisdom!

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Deone Higgs August 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Thanks mate! I appreciate the compliment, Craig. :)
Deone Higgs recently posted..If You Need Somebody You Can Trust, Trust YourselfMy Profile

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Craig McBreen August 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Well deserved!

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Mark August 15, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Hey Craig,

Thanks for the post. I enjoyed it.

Right now I’m trying to do just what I gathered you were writing about. I am a comedian and am forging a unique “brand” or experience for my audience. I think what’s most important is that not only is it unique, but it is authentic to me – an organic unfolding of my creativity and sense of humor.

Thanks again!
Mark Feigenbutz

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Craig McBreen August 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Hi Mark,

I’m glad you enjoyed!

This is the new wave of marketing for comedians, don’t you think? I’m a huge fan of more than a few comedians who happen to blog and podcast. It’s amazing to see how someone like Marc Maron, who was apparently hitting a dead end come back so strong because of his podcast. But what he does … well, it’s what you’re saying here … Forging a unique experience for his audience and being consistent with a certain tone or style. Plus being very honest about his feelings. Talent helps ;) but this all leads to a loyal fan base and sold out shows.

Curious what you think about that? Anyway, great to have your here and hope to see you again.

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Matthew Stock August 16, 2012 at 3:46 am

Hi Craig-

I’m new to your community, but diggin’ your stuff.

I have a basement waterproofing company and recently became an Inbound Marketing consultant. Brought Marcus Sheridan out to my offices and the rest was history.

I’m a bottom line guy, so success to me is leads and sales. I try not to get too hung up on meaningless social media metrics.

Best of luck.
Matthew Stock recently posted..Why SEO is Dead and Inbound Marketing is KingMy Profile

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Craig McBreen August 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Hi Matthew,

Thank you, Sir! And very glad to have you here.

I remember Marcus’ post and actually linked back to it a couple of times, because I thought it was such a great example of businesses embracing inbound marketing, and really running with it, especially with video! Great stuff and a solid example to refer clients to. Your business is now a showcase.

“Brought Marcus Sheridan out to my offices and the rest was history.”
–I guess Marcus can make things happen, huh? … ;)

I like what you are saying here. I think many get hung up on metrics and kinda get sucked into that vortex. I say focus on content, content, content! Make it great and learn how to promote. Good, old fashioned networking helps too ;)

By the way … love the name and the branding on your site. Very well done!

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Bell August 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm

It’s a unique perspective that keeps me coming back to a blog, regardless of subject matter. I am drawn to bloggers who aren’t afraid to be individuals, even if some of their scars are visible. In fact I’d say scars make you interesting, because we’ve all had it rough some time or another, and it’s dishonest to try and hide that. Obviously, I don’t believe that bloggers should obsess over their inner/private lives in public, What I mean is that you can blog about anything — say, beer — in a distinctive way. The only way you can.

People are drawn to 99% similarity and 1% distinctiveness. If you hide your 1% you’re not doing anybody any favors; process is nothing but form, empty save for the human being that sets it in motion.
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Craig McBreen August 17, 2012 at 2:54 am

Hi John,

Me too, and I think you’re right. Little quirks and scars make you interesting and I think an honest message always resonates with someone out there, just don’t go overboard ;)

Did you say beer? I sometimes nerd out on this site, because I’m a beer snob: http://beeradvocate.com/ Can’t help it. Too much good stuff in the PNW.

Can I steal that last paragraph?… ;) Love that!

” … process is nothing but form, empty save for the human being that sets it in motion.”
–Amen!

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Bell August 17, 2012 at 10:39 am

Of course you can.

Thanks for the Beer Advocate link. I’m very much into Belgian beers myself.
Bell recently posted..Your Computer Ate my Homework and Now It’s Eating MeMy Profile

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Craig McBreen August 17, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Enjoying the finer things in life ;)

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Bell August 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Oh, yes. I am partial to this one:
http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/48/155/

Can’t drink more than one per outing, though.
Bell recently posted..3 Reasons to Write About Buses and Not GhostsMy Profile

Craig McBreen August 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Yes, 10.5% will do that to you ;) The IPAs around here are getting stronger too. Have to be careful :)

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Jill Tooley August 22, 2012 at 1:36 pm

That’s the best way to think of it: “if you hide your 1%, you’re not doing anybody any favors; process is nothing but form, empty save for the human being that sets it in motion.”

I love that! :)
Jill Tooley recently posted..The Cold, Hard Truth About ‘Made in the USA’ and ‘Made in America’ LabelsMy Profile

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Craig McBreen August 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I thought that was rather brilliant, myself!

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Jens P. Berget August 17, 2012 at 7:14 am

Absolutely. That’s exactly the reason why I’m following people like you. And that you’re fun to be around and enjoy pizza :)

I follow people who are successful (or people I know will become successful fairly soon), and I learn from them and copy what makes them successful. And, I follow people who’re different (in a good way) – this way I learn how to stand out.
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Craig McBreen August 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Hi Jens,

Thank you, Sir! You’re not to bad to hang out with either … ;)

Yes, successful and different. I enjoy following those peeps, and also honesty and creativity AND Norwegians who like a good pizza pie.

Thanks for dropping in.

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Rebecca Livermore August 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Craig, your words, “Many in the online space get hung up on “process” and emulating others, ignoring their own gifts” are incredibly important.

This is really a great point because using our own gifts, and doing things in a way that is unique to us is one of the best ways to stand out in the crowd. If we do things like everyone else, we will definitely blend in to the crowd, and people will be unlikely to remember us, much less come back for more.
Rebecca Livermore recently posted..You May as Well Give Up on Your BlogMy Profile

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Craig McBreen August 17, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Hi Rebecca,

Thanks! I do think it’s what so many get hung up on.

I was a social misfit for most of my life, and I never in a million years thought I would be authoring a blog and immersed in social media. Years ago I honestly would have cringed at the thought. But now that I’m here and enjoying this fine and dandy trip, I realize that embracing your uniqueness isn’t so easy. People are not 100% comfortable doing it, and it is easier to follow someone else’s path, but it’s the best way forward, I’m convinced.

Thanks for your comments and so great to have you here!

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Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca August 19, 2012 at 2:05 am

What I love about this, Craig is it’s both helpful, and ‘not’ at the same time lol :)

Forge your own path, and eschew ‘best practices’ is a pretty funny thing to post about.

It’s also one I FULLY agree with.

Things I’ve done that don’t fit with most ppl:

I blog about the taboo.
I love pop culture.
I started by my blog charging high-end consulting rates that make most bloggers cringe.
I do guest posts not through pitching, but through invitations + requests.
I don’t push myself to ‘learn skills’ that dont suit me (I’ll hire a copywriter, social media manager, etc. — I’m cool being ignorant of certain disciplines.)
At the same time, I’m a renaissance man.
I’ve run my business while homeless.
I’ve given away more refined content and sexy-ass free resources in 6 months than most blogs do in years.
I compare blogging to rapping, and expect to be famous from what I do.

Killer swag? Doin’ my own thing? I’d say so.

And that’s stuffs just tip of the iceberg :)

So… yeah… I love this, man. And I also find humor in it. How do you advise someone to do their own thing and be themselves? Well, it’s kinda my business, and it seems yours too. ;)
Jason “J-Ryze” Fonceca recently posted..Pop Songs Own My Soul (Do They Own Yours?)My Profile

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Craig McBreen August 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Hi Jason,

Oh, when I say killer swag I would safely say you posses it, in droves ;)

I guess it is kind of funny advising someone to do their own thing and be themselves. Thing is, I think many don’t take the time to look inward and really discover what they’re all about. You’ve found it at a young age, but man I stopped and started for years. And I often looked for some form of validation. I’d love to help a peep or two who might be similar to the way I was at a certain age.

It’s really about summoning up some courage and starting to make things happen your way, which you are obviously doing.

Thanks for stopping in!

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Jason "J-Ryze" Fonceca August 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm

[bows respectfully] – thanks, superstar!

I totally agree and hear ya. That’s what I was getting at. It’s important to say and share and help, and you’re definitely doing it.

(its still funny tho :P)
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Craig McBreen August 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Saying, sharing, helping and being funny at the same time … ;) I’ll take that :)

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Jalanda NYCVideographer August 24, 2012 at 4:49 am

Amen Brother.

Be different. Every real estate agent wants to help you “Buy low and sell high”. Why they all insist on saying the same thing is beyond me.

Be different and people will remember you. I help people sell without selling using video form.

I think people who show their personality and tell a meaningful story are the most interesting.
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Craig McBreen August 24, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Hi Jalanda,

So glad you approve and thanks for stopping in!

This new tribal economy is more about connecting with people you really like, know and trust. Uniqueness rules and technology is only making it easier for people to find that message you provide which really resonates. This online global village ain’t so bad, is it? ;)

Looks like you specialize in training people to really show themselves. So you know trying to be someone else just won’t cut it. Very cool!

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Adrienne August 24, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Hey Craig,

I haven’t been by in awhile so thought I’d drop by and see what you’ve been up to. Look what I stumbled upon and great conversations going on here.

Oh crap, be original! You know when I heard all of this stuff when I ventured online I thought who the heck will ever listen to what I have to say. Okay, so in my own deep rooted mind I know I’m unique with a touch of weirdness too. Normal is so out of my realm here. But that’s what my friends and family think of me.

The online world? They’ll just think I’m some old goofball trying to make her mark online just like every single other soul. But I’ll be darn if little old me didn’t make some type of mark herself.

That connecting with others and just being you really works. Don’t ever try to copy someone else or be like them because it never ever works. You hit the nail on the head when you said “how do you want to be perceived”? Just be you and hopefully that’s a person with integrity and a true caring for others.

Those are the people I resonate with and want to hang around. Those are the people I enjoy reading their content and being in their blogging community.

Thanks for sharing this post Craig and hope you’re doing well.

~Adrienne
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Craig McBreen August 27, 2012 at 2:41 am

Hi Adrienne,

Hello! Thank you for stopping by and yes, a great conversation!

I thought the same exact thing. Might as well write what I want because nobody will be reading it ;)

Well, I think you being you is why you’re so successful. You’re wise, honest, to the point and I think you convey your true personality online so well. People feel like they know you and if you’re offering up great stuff (you are) that’s a certain recipe for success.

You do hear so much talk of tribes and I think you could give lessons on how to truly foster community (read: tribes) It all works so well over at http://adriennesmith.net/

Great to see you here!

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